COVID-19 and kidney disease: insights from epidemiology to inform clinical practice

Nat Rev Nephrol. 2022 Aug;18(8):485-498. doi: 10.1038/s41581-022-00570-3. Epub 2022 Apr 13.


Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous studies have aimed to address the challenges faced by patients with kidney disease and their caregivers. These studies addressed areas of concern such as the high infection and mortality risk of patients on in-centre haemodialysis and transplant recipients. However, the ability to draw meaningful conclusions from these studies has in some instances been challenging, owing to barriers in aspects of usual care, data limitations and problematic methodological practices. In many settings, access to SARS-CoV-2 testing differed substantially between patient groups, whereas the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection varied over time and place because of differences in viral prevalence, targeted public health policies and vaccination rates. The absence of baseline kidney function data posed problems in the classification of chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury in some studies, potentially compromising the generalizability of findings. Study findings also require attentive appraisal in terms of the effects of confounding, collider bias and chance. As this pandemic continues and in the future, the implementation of sustainable and integrated research infrastructure is needed in settings across the world to minimize infection transmission and both prevent and plan for the short-term and long-term complications of infectious diseases. Registries can support the real-world evaluation of vaccines and therapies in patients with advanced kidney disease while enabling monitoring of rare complications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Testing
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases*
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • SARS-CoV-2